Gasparilla is probably the one race I was so sad to have to miss last year, but I had good reason. It was on my due date! I registered months and months ago for the 2015 race, knowing I would be running this year. My friend Meg and I have been doing our training runs together and planned to run the race together as well. I picked her up bright and early on Sunday morning for the 6am start. We parked around ½ mile from the start, and had no issue walking into the corral about 10 minutes before the gun went off. Perfect!
We agreed to keep it really easy in the first bit, as to not get caught up in the frenzy of people sprinting off the start. I slid in right behind Meg since she was going to be dictating our pace for the race. It was completely silent, with the pitter patter of feet throughout the entire first mile – it’s definitely one of my favorite sounds!
Once we got to the 2 mile mark, I knew Meg was hurting. She was completely silent and I knew something was up. She insisted I go ahead without her – her hip was bugging her and knew it was going to be a tough race. I made sure she was ok a couple more times, and then I went ahead. She promised it was the best idea, so I was off! I really picked it up for the next mile, and settled into a 7:15 pace. The race route is one I run all of the time. I’ve literally run parts of the course hundreds and hundreds of times, so I knew exactly what was in front of me. Pushing the pace was no big deal, given the extremely flat course up ahead.
The wind was minimal this year, so the 60 degree weather we were running is was beyond perfect. In years past, there have been some really hot and some really cold mornings. 2015 was an ideal weather year for Gasparilla! The course takes the runner around an island for 5 miles, and then makes up the other 8 miles along Bayshore Boulevard, a waterfront street with the best views ever!
I kept on trucking along, grabbing fuel at everystop, alternating between water and Gatorade. Just because it wasn’t hot definitely didn’t mean it was cold, so I was sure to stay hydrated. Loss of fluid is a key to bonking during a race, so I know to always keep up with water and Gatorade, even if it’s only a sip here and there.
Stephanie was at mile 8 & 10, since it was an out and back type of course. It was so great to see her smiling face, especially that early in the morning! A 6am start is not the easiest to get spectators out to, so Stephanie jumping and screaming with her homemade cheer signs was amazing! Once I left Stephanie, I only had 3 more miles to go, so I decided to pick it up a little bit. I had slipped to around 7:30 by then, so I went back to the 7:15/ mile I was holding before and it felt a little more labored, but nothing crazy.
I knew I was going to see Grant and Marcus at mile 12, so I hustled to get there. I actually stopped to say hi to them, which is something I’ve never done before. It was the first time Grant had come to one of my races, so I wanted to see his smiling face! I lost about a minute at the stop, but I didn’t care. Seeing Marcus and Grant’s smiling face was well worth it!
When I was about ½ mile from the finish, I looked down at my watch and saw that is stopped working. It stopped about ¼ mile after I saw Marcus and Grant. Oh well, I would just have to rely on my results for an accurate time – no big deal. I crossed the finish line around 1:39, so I figured my actual finish time was probably 1:38:XX since it took 10-20 seconds to cross the start line.
I grabbed my amazing medal and headed to the finisher’s area. It used to be right after the finish line, but this year they actually put it about 1/2 of a mile from the finish. It was somewhat of a bummer to have to walk that far to grab food, but I did it anyway. A girl’s gotta eat 😉 I can understand why they put it over there though, since the majority of people probably park in the parking garages close to that area. I had parked the complete opposite way, so it just made it for a longer walk for me. I got some food for Meg and I, swung by the finish to grab Meg so she didn’t have to walk further than she needed to, and that was it! Another Gasparilla half in the books!
Remember earlier when I mentioned I would just reference my results for my finishing time? Well, little did I know that my chip timing didn’t work for the race. It only clocked me crossing the halfway point, but not at the finish line. I am so bummed! I would love to know what I actually ran the race in! I’ve already emailed the inquiry line to see if they can help me out, so we shall see.
Has anyone else ever had a timing chip malfunction? This was a first for me in the 11+ years I’ve been running. I’ll take that as a win!